Tag: NAACP Chairman

Born On This Day in 1940: Civil Rights Activist, SNCC Leader, and Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

As time passes, it becomes easier and easier to venerate only those we habitually do and forget about those who fought the same fight but perhaps didn’t have as prominent a position in the battle.

So today, a week before we will all – rightfully – celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his significant contributions to the betterment of this nation, I want to focus on one of his brothers-in-arms, the charismatic lecturer, activist, freedom fighter and leader in his own right, Julian Bond.

Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee and passed in 2015 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida at the age of 75. His father, Horace Mann Bond, rose to become the first African-American president of his alma mater, Lincoln University. Though his father expected Julian to follow in his footsteps as an educator (which he eventually did), as a young man, Bond instead was attracted to political activism.

While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Bond became one of original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  In 1960, after word spread of student sit-ins at lunch counters in Greensboro, N.C., Bond and others at Morehouse organized protests against segregated public facilities in Atlanta. Bond dropped out of Morehouse in 1961 to devote himself to the protest movement, but returned in the 1970s to complete his English degree.

Among the sit-ins and protests, Bond worked to register voters and in 1965 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. White members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty, as Bond and SNCC were known for their stand against United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

His case against the House of Representatives went to all the way to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision in 1966, the Court ordered the Georgia state legislature to seat Bond on the grounds that it was denying Bond freedom of speech.

Bond served 20 years in the two houses of the legislature and while a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish and fund a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta.

Bond also became a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, and served as its president from 1971 to 1979. He remained on its board for the rest of his life.

Bond published a book of essays titled “A Time to Speak, A Time to Act” about politics and the movement, and in 1998, Bond became chairman of the NAACP, serving in that position until 2010. Through the years, Bond also taught at Harvard, Williams, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.

While at Harvard, I had the personal honor and pleasure not only from taking a class from Bond, but also in taking him up on his offer to call him for dinner so he could spend time with and speak directly to his students. He didn’t give his office number – I didn’t speak to an assistant – I spoke to his wife, and then him.

Bond came to my dorm and had dinner with me and half a dozen other undergrads. He was kind, patient, thoughtful and wry – he answered all types of questions about MLK, SNCC and anything else we asked. What struck me the most when I wasn’t in complete awe, was how real and unassuming he was. No bluster, no overinflated sense of importance – just a man about the work he had done and was still doing until the day he died.

Julian Bond, thank you for your example, your service and for taking the time to make this then awkward undergraduate feel a little less awkward and that much more empowered. You are not and never will be forgotten.

Cornell William Brooks Named New NAACP President And CEO

Cornell William Brooks
Roslyn Brock, right, chairman of the national board of directors for the NAACP, puts a NAACP pin on new national president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks on Saturday, May 17, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The selection of Brooks came as the United States marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The lawsuit was argued by the organization’s legal arm. (AP Photo/NAACP, J. Adams)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a Head Start and Yale Law School graduate, Cornell William Brooks calls himself a direct beneficiary of Brown v. Board Education.  Now the lawyer and activist is taking over as the next national president and CEO of the NAACP, whose legal arm brought that landmark legal case challenging segregation in public schools.

On the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that said separating black and white children was unconstitutional, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization announced Brooks’ selection.  The NAACP’s board made the final decision Friday night, and chair Roslyn Brock told The Associated Press about Brooks’ new position on Saturday morning.  Brooks will be formally presented to the Baltimore-based organization’s members at its national convention in Las Vegas in July.

“I am a beneficiary, an heir and a grandson, if you will, of Brown versus Board of Education,” Brooks told the AP.
“My life is the direct product, if you will, of the legacy of the blood, sweat and tears of the NAACP and so today I’m particularly mindful that the NAACP has made America what it is, and certainly made my life possible and we are all grateful heirs of that legacy.”

Brooks, 53, of Annandale, New Jersey, will become the NAACP’s 18th national president, replacing interim leader Lorraine Miller. Miller has served in that position since Benjamin Jealous ended his five-year tenure last year.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this powerful historic organization,” Brooks said in an interview. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and ending racial discrimination for all people, there is indeed much work to be done.”

Brooks, a minister, is originally from Georgetown, South Carolina. He currently is president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a Newark, New Jersey-based urban research and advocacy organization.  He graduated from Jackson State University, received a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and got his law degree from Yale.

Brooks has worked as a lawyer for the Federal Communication Commission and the Justice Department. He also ran for Congress as a Democrat in Virginia in 1998. He still owns a home in Woodbridge, Virginia.
“Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the association,” Brock said. “We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”

The organization had hired The Hollins Group Inc., of Chicago to lead its search for a new CEO, and Brooks was selected from more than 450 applications, Brock said. The organization held more than 30 interviews, she said.
Brooks said he would start talking to and listening to the NAACP’s membership to plan for the organization’s future.
He said he would present his vision for the NAACP at the organization’s convention after he’s held conversations with the members.

“As long as America continues to be a great, but imperfect nation, there will be a need for the NAACP,” Brooks said.
Jealous called Brooks’ selection “the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the NAACP.”

article via newsone.com